Spotlight // Pulp Fiction

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One film, three stories, a million quotable lines. Pulp Fiction is cult cinema personified.

Despite a hugely successful career, if there’s one film that Quentin Tarantino cannot escape, it’s Pulp Fiction. His 1994 opus magnum frequents more “Best Film” lists than the rest of his filmography put together. Over 20 years later, it is still one of the most popular films ever and never ceases to be discussed or admired.

Originally imagined as a sequel to Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction was inspired by the serial nature of old horror films where several plots converged and often ended in a bloodbath. In this case mob enforcers Jules Winfield and Vince Vega find themselves held up in a diner by two opportunists, while their boss attempts to fix a boxing match using a ringer with a change of heart.

The incredibly violent script struggled to find a financier until it fell into Harvey Weinstein’s lap, who loved it so much it became the first film Miramax funded independently. Boasting several of cinema’s most treasured monologues and a briefcase aglow with mystery, the story itself was simple but Weinstein enjoyed the quirkiness in the nonlinear story and black humour. His faith paid off and it enjoyed great acclaim, oddly so for a film containing so much sexual violence, heavy drug use and racism.

Credited with revitalising the career of John Travolta, Pulp Fiction garnered him an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the greasy haired Vincent. Conversely Bruce Willis’ signing on required a significantly smaller pay check than he was used to. Which worked out just fine when he netted a percentage of the $214m gross and it took the Palm D’or at Cannes in 1994.

Littered with famous faces including Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken and Uma Thurman in her most iconic performance, it’s little surprise the film was so successful. Of course no Tarantino film is complete without a role for the man himself too, in this case Jules’ famously anxious friend Jimmie.

A landmark film that affirmed Tarantino’s status as an artistic force to be reckoned with, Pulp Fiction showcased what would become his signature tropes. Black humour, pop culture references by the dozen, anachronistic music, ensemble casts and extended dialogue. It’s a film so influential it’s genuinely hard to find someone who hasn’t seen it.

£4/5 gets you entry to our pub quiz beforehand and a free bag of popcorn to enjoy along with the film. Fetch Z’s chopper keys and meet us down in Knoxville for this classic.

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Spotlight // Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

19399864_1701031650201415_7977425102476384610_nThere is a cabin in the woods where a piano plays itself and an empty chair rocks back and forth…

Join the cult revival with CFE’s next offering on July 6th, the classic “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn”. After a recitation from the book of the dead, Ash Williams’ secluded getaway with his girlfriend takes a turn for the worse when all manner of unholy creatures seek to consume them under cover of darkness. The ensuing battle contains some of the most memorable scenes in horror as the cast fight their to way survival at dawn by any means.

After releasing the straight-laced original in 1981, director Sam Raimi wanted to expand his filmmaking skills and began working on a comedy with the Coen brothers. Six years of industry experience later and with greater financial support he reworked the first film and added his new found comedy palette, giving Evil Dead 2 it’s signature flavour that fans went crazy for.

Dead-end roads, hillbillies and yuppies, axes and chainsaws. Raimi’s slapstick direction was lapped up by audiences who loved the campy, one-liner heavy script and ridiculous goriness because it was backed by solid filmmaking. Evil Dead 2 combined impressive camerawork, claymation, puppetry, prosthetics and CGI, a variety of efforts that showed how committed Raimi was to seeing his ideas come alive onscreen. It was the perfect combination of B movie tropes and genuine talent.

The franchise made Bruce Campbell a star and has kept him busy ever since. The cult community’s embrace of the actor continued with another successful sequel in 1992 and the ongoing TV series “Ash vs Evil Dead” in 2015. Ash is well and truly part of the cult cinema furniture and for good reason. Evil Dead 2 is one of the defining horror films of the 80’s because it was unashamedly fun and didn’t care about using cliches; it blew them out the door, chopped off their head and laughed in their face. Not to be missed, if Evil Dead 2 doesn’t entertain you, you better check your pulse.

As always, £5/4 gets you entry to our film themed pub quiz, the film (inc. free popcorn) and the chance to win some groovy prizes. See you there.